Arts research project archive

A selection of academic projects carried out by arts researchers

Shadows we run for: 2018

Chris Cook

Solo exhibition of ten works from a new graphite sequence based on the 17th century Dutch Still Life genre. The genre celebrates wealth and 'reach', reflecting historical colonial expansionism, and the first seeds of modern capitalism and materialism. Transposing images of plenitude into deadpan greyscale provides irony, allowing contemporary elements (drones, plastic soldiers, temporary encampments, pylons etc.) to be inserted to reflect current capitalist discord: exploitation, conflict, protectionism, migration, using symbolic references of the originals to inform collaging and editing decisions. Bryson's early text Looking at the Overlooked and Schama’s ‘An Embarrassment of Riches’ supply contextual insight to the visual research.

Further information

CHRISTOPHER COOK, Reaper with Bowl of Ink, 2016, Graphite, resin, and oil on coated paper
Image courtesy of Chris Cook

Layers of Visibility: 2013-2017

Professor Liz Wells

Between 2013 and 2017, seven artists associated with Plymouth University, UK, responded to Cyprus through residencies at Nicosia Municipal Arts Centre. The resulting work indicates a range of different responses to the island and to the complex layers of Cypriot culture, a place where historically the Hellenic and the Islamic were variously entangled and, along with legacies of British colonialism, remain marked now.

Artist residency as a space of practice-led research. Exhibition Nicosia Municipal Arts Centre October 19 2018 – January 12 2019. Curators Liz Wells, Professor in Photographic Culture, University of Plymouth, UK. Yiannis Toumazis, Director, Nicosia Municipal Arts Centre, Cyprus.

Layers of Visibility
Image courtesy of Liz Wells

On Location: 2017

Kayla Parker

HD digital film

The film, made collaboratively with Stuart Moore, “poses questions of radicalism both in terms of audio visual aesthetics and of filmmaking methodology in addition to more overtly political issues of environmental degradation, human and non-human relations and marginalised femininities. … Parker reverse engineers an experimental approach to landscape filmmaking that synthesises phenomenology, écriture feminine, structural materialism and critical geography. The result is a beautiful depiction of the countryside hollow way visited by the British avant-garde filmmaker and performance artist, Annabel Nicolson, forty years previously; one that challenges conventional methods even within the ‘new materialist’ approach to landscape filmmaking.” (Screenworks, 2017)

Further information

Kayla Parker - on location
Image courtesy of Kayla Parker

Thinking Space: 2015

Heidi Morstang

60-minute documentary film commissioned by the London Mathematical Society
9 Short Films commissioned by the London Mathematical Society

The film was commissioned by the London Mathematical Society, portraying nine world-leading mathematicians for general audiences. Thinking Space does not attempt a lay explanation of the mathematicians’ research. It allows the striking unavailability of mathematical concepts to verbal analogy to linger, revealing mathematicians’ repeated recognition of presence of mathematical beauty within visualisations. The film offers a remarkable observatory on transcendent role of mathematics as humanistic endeavour.

Watch Thinking Space 
Frames of Mind feature on the LMS homepage
Artist’s website

'Thinking Space', a film by Heidi Morstang
Image courtesy of Heidi Morstang

Prosperous Mountain: 2013

Heidi Morstang 

Medium: Experimental short documentary film. 15 mins 47 sec. Colour. Audio: Digital Dolby 5.1

Prosperous Mountain was filmed at Svalbard Global Seed Vault in the High Arctic. The vault archives food crop seeds for future generations.
Morstang produced, directed and edited the film. She gained exclusive access to the vault through the Nordic Genetic Resource Centre and the Global Crop Diversity Trust. Filmed interviews on location with international scientists informed the film. Research methods include observational documentary cinematic techniques: unfolding narratives investigating complexities of the Arctic landscape of human interventions of mining, transport and global seed storage, pointing at a fragile global ecological system that led to the existence of the vault.

Artist website

Video still from Prosperous Mountain, Heidi Morstang
Image courtesy of Heidi Morstang

Art / Media research